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Top Skin Concerns to Ask Your Doctor About

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Top Skin Concerns to Ask Your Doctor About

We often take our skin for granted; it just exists on our body as we go about our day. But when you stop to think about it, our skin is fascinating! Did you know we all have seven layers of skin? And the average adult has about 22 feet of skin on their body. Not only does it protect our body, it can give us insight into what's going on inside of the body because the skin is actually our largest organ.

These are some common skin symptoms you should ask your doctor about at your next visit:

1. Skin tags - These little growths often look like deflated balloons. They usually occur in areas where skin is rubbing like the neck, eyelids, underarms or chest. Usually painless, they can become annoying if clothes are irritating them or cosmetically bothersome. Luckily these can be removed rather easily in the office.

2. Dark skin patches - Medically called acanthosis nigricans. These are dry dark patches that may feel similar to velvet. They usually develop in the armpits, neck or groin. This is an important skin condition to ask your doctor about as it can be a sign of insulin resistance or diabetes.

3. Moles or other marks - We can have so many different marks on our skin ranging from freckles to moles, cherry angiomas, birthmarks, the list goes on! Marks can be harmless and the result of aging or injury, but it's important to keep an eye on them to note if they are visually changing as this can be a sign of skin cancer. These are the types of changes you want to look for: A large brownish spot with darker speckles. A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds. A small lesion with an irregular border and parts that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black. A painful lesion that itches or burns.

4. Acne - We often think of acne as just that... acne. But did you know there are different forms of acne? These include: blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, fungal acne, nodules, and cysts. Acne is very common and nothing to be ashamed of, it can happen at any age. If you've been trying to treat your acne at home and aren't seeing success, it's important to talk to your doctor because untreated acne can lead to permanent physical scarring. Not only can it scar, it's often very upsetting to patients. There are many treatment options!

5. Eczema or Psoriasis - These two conditions can look similar. Eczema causes dry, itchy, inflamed skin. These patches of eczema can look red (light skin) or darker brown, purple, or ash gray (darker skin). Psoriasis can present as patches of thick red skin and a texture called scales. Both are thought to be related to your immune system reacting. If you suffer with either of these conditions or think you do, it's important to think of your skin as extra sensitive... Try avoiding common irritants in products that will touch your skin like fragrance or essential oils. Many brands now make options labeled hypoallergenic or free and clear. And be sure to work with your primary care doctor or dermatologist to make a treatment plan.

There are many things we can do to help our skin, like drinking plenty of water, moisturizing regularly, wearing sunscreen (even in the winter!), getting plenty of sleep, and eating our fruits and vegetables. If you have a concern about your skin, don't hesitate to ask. 

To learn more about BHS Dermatology, click here